9 Tips and 5 Tools to Help Businesses Navigate the CoronavirusMarch 14, 2020 | Marketing
The ripple effect of COVID-19 disruptions and closures is much larger than I think any of us ever expected. A national emergency, nation-wide closures, and cancelations are unprecedented events that are being felt in every area of commerce. I’ve had conversations with several business owners whose businesses (or clients) are being directly affected by Coronavirus in one form or fashion. We are all being impacted by everything that’s going on. Given the uncharted territory that we’re in with all of this, I wanted to let you know that our team is here to help support you during this trying time. Here are some small business tips and tools to help you keep growing.
Virtual Tools Can Help You Run Your Business Remotely
At Wayfind Marketing, our team works virtually on a regular basis. As many small business owners are searching for the best tools and ideas to help you keep all systems running, we wanted to shares some of the virtual tools and software we use regularly with the hope that it may help others who want to establish a more virtual workspace.
1. Stay in touch with your clients.
Check-in on your customers, vendors, and prospects. An encouraging word is always welcomed and appreciated. Maybe this is a good time to pick up the phone and make a few calls, or even reach out to past clients to check in on them and see if you can serve them in any way.
2. Use digital tools to keep communications as personal as possible.
Let’s face it, many of us still prefer face-to-face interaction with our customers, however; that might not be the best option for the near future. Here are several tools we use that you might find helpful:
- Loom – this is browser-based recording software that allows you to record your screen and/or video of you talking. This is a great way to explain things to a customer, co-worker, or a prospect. There’s a free version, and Loom has temporarily lowered the pricing on their paid plans to make it more accessible. They’re making Loom Pro free for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, or educational institutions. Forever.
- Zoom – (funny how these tools rhyme with each other) – this is a video conference software that’s super simple to use. It’s great for conferencing in a group of people. There is a free version, and the paid version is less than $20/mo. They also offer a webinar option for folks who need to conduct larger events, training groups, etc.
- Slack – if you’re looking for a way to facilitate communication with your team (i.e., everyone’s now working from home), Slack is a great way to do that. It’s an instant messaging tool that lets you set up different channels for different topics. The free version is pretty robust (that’s the plan we’re on).
- LiveChat – more people will be doing things virtually, which might include looking for information or customer support online. Live chat gives folks the opportunity to communicate in realtime directly from your website. Tools like LiveChat let you respond to questions from your phone or tablet, so you aren’t chained to your desk (or dining room table if that happens to be where you’ve set up your office).
- StreamYard – if you want to do some live streaming to YouTube and other sites, this tool will help you get it up and running. I haven’t personally used this tool, but it comes on a good recommendation.
3. Ramp up your digital marketing activities.
Look for ways to stay in touch with your customers and prospects digitally. Send emails, share on social media, text folks (assuming you have permission, of course), use video. There are different ways to do this, but you want to stay visible and relevant.
4. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate.
If you and your team interact with customers in person, let them know what you’re doing to keep their health at the forefront. This might be things like putting hand sanitizer at each entrance and exit, bumping elbows instead of shaking hands, and shifting to virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings when possible. You may also want to put together some FAQs (frequently asked questions) to put on your website and/or to share via email to proactively answer questions you anticipate receiving.
5. Check-in on your team.
As you’re busy reaching out to customers and clients, don’t forget to touch base regularly with your team. Most of us are feeling anxious about what’s going on, whether it’s about the virus itself or the ramifications of the responses to the virus. Keeping your staff in-the-loop with regular updates can help sustain morale in an otherwise difficult season. Make sure they are aware of what’s going on and hear about changes from you and not through the grapevine.
6. Leverage social media resources.
Here is a list of small business resources compiled by Facebook that you might find helpful.
7. Check your mindset.
Yes, this has the potential to be a very challenging season, however, you get to decide how you want to approach it. We can see this as an opportunity to innovate or begin to do things that will get us ready for the upswing that will follow. The Harvard Business Review shares some good ways to use stress in a positive way.
8. Take a break from the news.
Yep, I’ve been checking the news channels every few hours to see what’s going on, but at some point, we all need a break. Get outside and take a walk (unless it’s pouring down rain – of course, you might like rain-soaked walks, so have at if you do). Read something positive and encouraging. Take a look at the Good News Network. They only share positive and uplifting stories.
9. A smile goes a long way.
When you are out and about, smile at the people you encounter. Everyone is feeling a bit more stressed and anxious these days. A smile and kind word can go a long way.
I hope you find these helpful. One last bit of encouragement for you is some ancient (but timeless) wisdom from the Hebrew king David, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1).
Please let me or anyone else on the Wayfind team know if we can help in any way.